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The word Imamate (Arabic: إمامة‎‎ imāmah) is a word derived from Imam meaning leadership. Its use in theology is confined to Islam.

Theological usage

The term Caliphate, a romanization of the Arabic word Khalifah "succession", is often used interchangeably with the term Imamate. Both terms, not always but most often, refer to the position of succeeding and leading the Muslim community after the death of Muhammad.

Historical usage